Monthly Archives: June 2005

Flying around the Globe with Google Earth

OK… I’ve downloaded the complete Google Earth and I have to say I’m pretty much blown away!
If you recall watching all the war in Iraq coverage last year on the news with the spanky Keyhole mapping that guided you around Baghdad and flew you over the country, well, that’s essentially what you now have access to.. and much more.
Panning and zooming around the Globe is a breeze. As you find locations of interest you easily add bookmarks or push pins to build your own personal list of “places”. The mapping application is also tightly integrated with Google Search and Google local. What this means is as you search for things and provide a geographic reference, the mapping application will fly you from your current location on the map to the one you are searching for. For example, I can search for a movie in London, England, hit “Search” and I am flown over the Atlantic to a region with several “hits”. Enter another search string like our company name “Spatial Media, Frederick, MD” and I am flown back to Maryland.. so cool. As you fly to a location you see small-scale imagery at a National level, however, as you descend increasingly more detailed imagery is presented based on the zoom level (or elevation). Obviously some parts of the Globe have higher resolution imagery than others so it varies. A really cool part of the search… as I get back to Frederick Maryland I not only see place names but there’s also icons listed for other related “hits” like the ASPRS, EarthData International, the USGS and more. If I now click on one of “my places” like Victoria, BC, I am then presented with an option to get directions there from my current position (Frederick, MD). Obviously this would be more useful at a local level but you see what I mean.
Cool.. the “Fly to” command is loads of fun, simply enter a location on the Earth and you are flown there. Finally, a number of layers can be optionally displayed including restaurants, hotels, census data, and even historical imagery from Digital Globe… amazing!
Other cool Features (Source: Google Earth ReadMe)
– Geocoder, Local Search, and Driving Directions are now integrated with Google’s search engine. The last 10 search entries are remembered.- 3D buildings are currently available in 38 US cities- You can “drive to” and “drive from” any placemark, icon- Web page results from search and URLs embedded in description can now be viewed in an embedded web browser – Google Earth can now be installed without administrative privileges (Plus only).- GPS data can now be viewed in Google Earth- You can perform batch geocoding of street addresses using the Import menu item to import a .csv – Polygons can be extruded or displayed at altitude.- GIFs (non-animated) can be used as overlays and icons.- Movies can be saved as sequences of image files.- Movie Maker now has a 25/50 Frames-per-second (fps) option.
Note: Google and others are on hand today at the Oreilly Where 2.0 conference in San Francisco and will no doubt be WOWing the crowd with a full demo as well as their future plans. I can’t wait to hear more!
I was interested to read in the software license that use of any screen captures etc… is prohibited. This will be fun to enforce! Imagine Mapquest going after everyone who’s posted screen captures of their maps online…
See http://earth.google.com, http://www.keyhole.com/

Yahoo! Local to offer free Yahoo! Maps API

from Glenn’s blog… Here’s a timely one.. on the heels of the Google Earth news, Yahoo! is poised for some cool news themselves regarding the availability of Yahoo! Maps API
Yahoo! Local makes available an extension of the Yahoo! Search API offering with the availability of Yahoo! Maps API. According to Yahoo! reps, it’s free, stable, backward compatible, fully supported and documented.
More details from Yahoo!… Yahoo! Maps API gives developers of all levels free public access to Yahoo!’s SmartView Technology – enabling them to see their own geographical data on Yahoo! Maps. Developers can now create customized maps by overlaying a variety of content onto an existing Yahoo! Map including weather reports, school district boundaries, open houses, garage sales, vacation photos, and more.
The API was designed to meet the following developer needs:
· It’s Easy to Use: Yahoo! Maps API can be used by developers of all levels. Yahoo! does the geocoding for you – there’s no need to deal with confusing latitude and longitude coordinates. You can get a customized map up and running within one hour!
· Open Standard: Yahoo! Maps API open standard makes it available for use by any developer. Yahoo! builds upon RSS standards, specifically GEO RSS.
· It’s Stable: Yahoo! Maps API is an official, stable tool with a dedicated engineering team that’s committed to continued development and innovation.
· It’s Free: Yahoo! Maps API is free for any user.
Yahoo! also provides space on the page for partner branding and links to go back to the referral page. Yahoo! is committed to supporting the API via group forum at yws-maps. The Yahoo! Maps open API is based on geoRSS, RSS 2.0 and w3c geo extension.
An example use of the API is seen below. It shows an application locating Bay Area traffic cameras. Click on the map to be taken to the actual application.

See http://developer.yahoo.net/maps/

Fly to a location with Google Earth and Google Earth Plus

The highly anticipated Google Earth is now here.. users can now “fly” to a location using this very popular geospatial search engine.
The utility, available via free download boasts the following functionality:
Fly from space to your neighborhood. Type in an address and zoom right in.
Search for schools, parks, restaurants, and hotels. Get driving directions.
Tilt and rotate the view to see 3D terrain and buildings.
Save and share your searches and favorites. Even add your own annotations.
Beffore you download and try for youself you can check out some demo shots made available from Google… Eiffel Tower, or the Lincoln Memorial
Jump to http://earth.google.com/index.html for the full effect and try for yourself. Those of you that are really impressed by the service might consider Google Earth Plus – Google Earth Plus is an optional upgrade adding GPS device support, the ability to import spreadsheets, drawing tools and better printing.
Suggested cfg: (Source: Google)
Operating system: Windows XP
CPU speed: Intel® Pentium® P4 2.4GHz+ or AMD 2400xp+
System memory (RAM): 512MB
2GB hard-disk space
3D graphics card: 3D-capable video card with 32MB VRAM or greater
1280×1024, 32-bit true color screen
Network speed: 128 kbps (“Broadband/Cable Internet”)

NGA Pathfinder news now available

Pathfinder is the bi-monthly magazine produced by NGA that promotes public awareness and understanding of the discipline of geospatial intelligence. The May/June edition is now available
The theme of this issue is “National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Makes a Difference Every Day.”
This month the cover story features NGA’s Digital Nautical Chart (DNC), an NGA product that transforms maritime navigation, providing geospatial data for electronic navigation systems for the U.S. Navy.
The May/June 2005 issue of the Pathfinder can be found at: http://www.nga.mil/NGASiteContent/StaticFiles/OCR/mayjune05.pdf

GIS at heart of Washington State Relocation Tool

The State of Washington is using GIS at the heart of it’s new business recruitment Web site
Developed by the Washington State Department of Community, Trade & Economic Development (CTED), the primary goal of the new Web site at ChooseWashington.com is to simplify the process for site selection consultants, corporate real estate executives and businesses who are seeking information about relocating to or expanding in Washington. At the heart of ChooseWashington.com is Favorable Location Search, GIS (Geographic Information System) technology that provides users with reports, maps and data that would otherwise take a great deal of time and expense to collect. By simply inputting criteria, available properties can be viewed and important information provided including size, cost, geographic advantages, and contact information. Corresponding community demographic reports such as labor force, education levels, consumer spending, and average age also can be created. In addition, businesses are mapped by industry showing their distribution and concentrations throughout the area. The dynamic mapping capabilities include the ability to zoom in and out, move the map, identify information and view geographic “layers” of information such as parks, schools, airports, railroads, ZIP Codes, points of interest, and neighboring cities and towns.
See http://www.ChooseWashington.com

The State of Washington is using GIS at the heart of it’s new business recruitment Web site

USGS Maps the Spread of West Nile During 2005 Season
Summertime means the return of mosquitos and the spread of West Nile Virus (WNV). You can now track confirmed cases of this scourge. Compare this year’s spread to that of previous years for mosquitos, birds, other animals, and humans at http://westnilemaps.usgs.gov/. Visitors will find useful resources, links, and FAQs here.
Remember Hurricane Ivan? View the before and after 3D topography/bathymetry showing the breach through the barrier island, Pine Beach, AL at http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/hurricanes/ivan/lidar/breach.html